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General Insurance Newsletter Friday 1st March 2024

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Insurance News

The bankruptcy court in Delaware has approved the liquidation plan for Vesttoo following the insurtech’s collapse due to letters of credit fraud. “The evidence in support of the plan that was proffered or adduced at the combined hearing, and the facts and circumstances of these Chapter 11 cases, establish that each holder of allowed claims or interests in each class will receive or retain as much or more value under the plan on account of such claim or interest, as of the effective date, than the amount such holder would receive if the debtors were liquidated on the effective date under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code,” reads part of the court document. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Bankruptcy court approves Vesttoo liquidation plan')

Africa Specialty Risks (ASR) has embarked on a venture with a European reinsurer to bolster its parametric reinsurance offerings. The collaboration is aimed at aiding vulnerable groups and bolstering economies across Africa and the Middle East. The partnership is also set to enhance ASR’s capacity in providing parametric coverage for smallholder farmers, natural disasters, and renewable energy projects, with potential for further growth. Facilitated by Inver Re, the initiative addresses issues such as food, water, and environmental security, which are becoming increasingly severe due to climate change. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'ASR forms parametric reinsurance partnership for increased coverage')

Global life reinsurance is primed for decent gains in the next few years, recording double-digit growth across its segments. A study by Allied Market Research revealed that the global life reinsurance market, valued at $222.14 billion in 2021, is on a trajectory to reach $647.8 billion by 2031. This growth represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6% from 2022 to 2031. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Life reinsurance market set for double-digit growth')

Munich Re’s asset manager has raised new funds to further support its sustainable investments. MEAG, the asset management arm of the giant reinsurer, has successfully secured $207 million in capital commitments during the initial closing of its MEAG Sustainable Forestry Equity Fund. This fund, introduced in 2022 in alignment with the EU Taxonomy for ecologically sustainable forest management, aims to contribute to various United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re arm goes big for forestry fund')

AI-drive auto insurer and B-Corp LOOP has announced the successful renewal of its reinsurance program. This new program, which will go into effect for an extended 15-month term, features backing from the same reinsurers and carrier and maintains the same level of support as in the previous term. The program was also notable for being oversubscribed in all aspects. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AI-powered insurer renews reinsurance program')

Fears over meeting environmental, social, and governance targets (ESG) are permeating UK businesses, with a recent study from Gallagher revealing the issue as a main concern as the world at large tries to inch closer to net-zero. The recent study from the global broker revealed that 62% of senior leaders at large UK businesses are concerned about the litigation risks associated with their ESG targets, compounded by the fact that 72% admit to feeling pressured to set these targets without a clear plan for achieving them. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Gallagher reveals a big concern for UK businesses')

In the coming weeks, regulated companies will begin to receive their Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Top Up fee invoices. Insurance financier Premium Credit reiterated that it would continue to offer a financial solution that allows these firms to spread the cost through monthly payments rather than facing the burden of a one-off lump sum. This option aims to enhance cash flow management, with Premium Credit having facilitated agreements exceeding £650 million for this specific purpose to date. The FCA mandates biannual invoicing for firms whose total fees surpassed £50,000 in the prior year, requiring 50% of this fee to be settled by April 1. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Regulated firms can spread cost of FCA top up fees – Premium Credit')

Marco Capital Group’s PoloWorks and PwC UK have formed tech-enabled insurance management services provider PoloPartners. PoloWorks, which earlier this month launched captive manager Polo Insurance Managers, said the joint venture with PwC UK is in response to the market’s need for a differentiated end-to-end service. Leveraging the strengths and expertise of PoloWorks and PwC UK, PoloPartners will offer insurance management spanning actuarial services, claims management, risk and compliance, and other related services. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'PoloWorks, PwC UK team up to form PoloPartners')

Following last year’s 25% rise in motor insurance premiums, the UK insurance sector is embarking on a comprehensive strategy to mitigate costs. The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which held its annual conference recently, released an action plan aimed at reducing insurance costs for motorists. The measures, which could be initiated or enhanced by the industry, government, or regulatory bodies, span from implementing graduated drivers licensing for safer driving, advocating for the reduction of the insurance premium tax (IPT), to enhancing consumer access to pricing data. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'ABI outlines industry plan against motor insurance costs')

Lemonade has trimmed its losses in 2023. In its letter to shareholders, Lemonade said: “Turning to 2024, there’s reason to be hopeful that many of the industry’s headwinds of ‘22-‘23 may turn into tailwinds in ‘24-‘25: inflation seems to be receding, new rate approvals are adding up and earning in, and if the costs of capital come down, we may yet see a moderation in reinsurance costs too." (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Lemonade reports net loss in 2023 results')

Reinsurance giant Munich Re has reported its results for the fiscal year 2023, in line with the new IFRS 9 and IFRS 17 standards starting January 2023. The company achieved a profit of €4.597 billion, surpassing its revised October target of €4.5 billion, which itself was an increase from the initial forecast of €4.0 billion. The fourth quarter contributed €1.004 billion to the annual profit. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Munich Re profits exceed target for third year in a row')

Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company has reported an increase in unrealized losses, totaling QR1.6 billion for the fiscal year 2023. In total, the firm posted a net loss of nearly QR1.465 billion, an increase from the QR 532.113 million net loss recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance hit by huge leap in losses')

Amphitrite Underwriting London, a specialist marine managing general agent (MGA), has announced its receipt of full authorisation from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), coming into effect on January 31, 2024. This development marks a significant milestone for the MGA, which has been under the regulatory guidance of Tysers since its inception in 2018. Under Tysers' stewardship, Amphitrite has been established in the global marine insurance market, which the MGA attributes to its commitment to excellence, transparency, and innovative practices. The FCA approval signifies a major achievement for the firm and sets the stage for the next chapter in its growth. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Amphitrite receives full approval from FCA')

The London P&I Club has announced a notable increase in its annual renewals for 2024, marking an 8.9% growth in mutual tonnage compared to the previous year. The club noted that this development aligns with its strategic objectives to enhance its financial standing, buoyed by a favourable claims experience and robust investment returns during the 2023/24 policy period. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'London P&I outlines outcome for 2024 renewals')

​Ecclesiastical Insurance has introduced a new risk maturity assessment tool designed to aid organisations in navigating the complex and evolving risk environment. The specialist insurer’s new initiative aims to bolster risk management frameworks and enhance organisational resilience against a spectrum of challenges. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Ecclesiastical announces new risk self-assessment tool')

​AXA, in accordance with the terms of the applicable shareholders’ annual general meeting authorisation, has executed a share repurchase agreement with an unnamed investment services provider. In a release, the international insurer said: “AXA will buy back its own shares for a maximum amount of €1.6 billion, reflecting: €1.1 billion share buy-back, in line with its new capital management policy, as announced on February 22, 2024; €0.5 billion anti-dilutive share buy-back related to the reinsurance agreement for an in-force savings portfolio at AXA France, as announced on December 20, 2023.” (Terry Gangcuangco, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXA executes share repurchase agreement')

​Aviva and Howden have teamed up to provide bespoke insurance to an innovative start-up, which offers homeowners solar panels on a subscription service. The insurer and broker worked together with Sunsave to create a bespoke construction and operation cover policy for the solar energy subscription service, which provides solar batteries and panels using a regular payment plan. (Aviva, 29/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Aviva and Howden partner to insure innovative solar subscription service start-up')

Full year results for Allianz Group reveal that the organisation continued its strong growth in the UK in 2023, achieving a total revenue of £6,563.2m. Highlights include, the creation of Allianz Commercial, Personal and Specialty during 2023 brought a clear strategic vision across the strong and trusted brands making up Allianz Holdings. The top line result of over £4bn is a reflection of the diverse portfolio and long term commitment to markets. (Allianz, 26/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Allianz Group announces revenue of £6.5bn in UK')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Belgian insurer Ageas has reportedly made an unsuccessful £3.1 billion bid to acquire UK-based Direct Line Insurance Group Plc, sources close to the matter have revealed. Despite engaging advisers to facilitate the potential takeover, Ageas encountered resistance. Both Direct Line and Ageas have opted not to comment on the situation. Of note is Direct Line’s valuation, which sits at approximately £2.2 billion. The group emerged from a division of the Royal Bank of Scotland through an initial public offering in 2012. (Kenneth Araullo, 28/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Direct Line says no to Ageas takeover bid - report')

Investment organisation Redwheel has reacted following the “unattractive” proposal by Ageas for a possible offer to acquire Direct Line Insurance Group (Direct Line Group or DLG). As confirmed by both Ageas and DLG, the latter received a highly conditional, non-binding indicative proposal in January, with the terms comprising 100 pence in cash and one new Ageas share for every 25.24047 DLG shares. “The board considered the proposal with its advisers and considered it to be uncertain, unattractive, and that it significantly undervalued Direct Line Group and its future prospects while also being highly opportunistic in nature,” DLG, whose new Chief Executive Adam Winslow revealed in a statement. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'What the Ageas-DLG proposal means for UK equity market')

​Private medical insurer (PMI) AXA Health has expanded its proposition by acquiring online outpatient services provider HBSUK for an undisclosed sum. The integration of HBSUK, an existing AXA Health partner, into the wider insurer’s operations aims to enhance PMI members’ access to clinician care through the fast and convenient delivery of safe and effective care. Chief Executive Tara Foley commented that the acquisition is a testament to AXA’s dedication to supporting members and ensuring they have swift access to necessary care. Foley emphasized the role of digital platforms in improving service efficiency and aligning with AXA’s goals for high-quality offerings. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/2/2024, 'Insurance Business UK, 'AXA Health acquires HBSUK')

Howden, has acquired Intersure Group Limited, trading as Intersure Group, further strengthening its ability to service the Irish insurance market, as it expands its geographical footprint across the country. Established in 1999 by Noeleen Butterly, Intersure is an owner-managed business with its office in Drogheda, Co. Louth, providing clients with a high standard of technical insurance advice across commercial, business, construction and liability lines, and personal lines including home, motor and travel. (Howden, 29/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Howden acquires Drogheda based broker Intersure')


AXIS Capital has announced that W. Marston Becker will be taking over as Non-Executive Chair of the company’s board of directors from Henry B. Smith in May. Smith, who has helmed the board since 2020, will step down from his role but will remain an active board member. The immediate past Chair of the QBE Insurance Group board, Becker has been with the AXIS board since June 2020. His four-decade-long career in the (re)insurance industry includes executive and governance positions in Bermuda, the UK, the US, and Australia. (Terry Gangcuangco, 1/3/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXIS Capital names chair successor')

​No-code insurance platform provider INSTANDA has bolstered its global content team with the addition of its first-ever in-house Global Content Manager. The company has named Emma Plummer in the role, a move aims that aims to advance the firm’s marketing and communication efforts. Before joining INSTANDA, Plummer was the Principal of On Point Content, a copywriting and content consultancy that counted INSTANDA among its clientele. (Kenneth Araullo, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'INSTANDA strengthens global content line-up')

Jacob Fuest has been appointed as Chief Markets Officer and management board member at Allianz Partners. Having spent over a decade with Allianz Group, Fuest brings a wealth of experience to his new position. Most recently, he was at the helm of the business division for Western and Southern Europe at Allianz SE, covering Allianz Partners and Allianz Direct. His remit extended across multiple major entities within Allianz, where he was instrumental in driving transformation initiatives. Fuest’s career at Allianz Partners has been marked by several key leadership roles such as Head of Market Management and Innovation, Allianz Partners Germany Chief Executive, and Regional CEO for Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. Before joining Allianz, Fuest held strategic roles in the automotive sector. In his new role, the group stalwart will lead business units across the globe to further drive Allianz Partners’ profitable growth. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Allianz Partners announces key global hire')

AXIS Capital has made significant moves to strengthen its leadership team, announcing a promotion and new hires. Edward Ashby has been elevated to the role of Chief Commercial Officer, a position created to further AXIS’ strategic objectives. Alongside his ongoing duties as Global Head of Distribution for insurance, Ashby will now also focus on advancing business development strategies, improving the company’s visibility in the market, and supporting CEO-led initiatives. Ashby’s journey with AXIS began in 2014, initially leading US distribution for the insurance segment before taking on a global remit the following year. His career also includes a nine-year tenure at QBE, where he eventually led global distribution for North America, and earlier roles that saw him rise from Underwriter to Head of Credit & Surety. In addition to the internal move, AXIS announced the appointment of Stephen Lord as Global Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Robert Barriero as Global Head of Strategic Sourcing and Corporate Real Estate. Lord, returning to AXIS from The Hartford, brings extensive experience in leading technology initiatives that support business growth and competitive advantage. Barriero’s comes from a background of property management leadership at Morgan Stanley and other reputable organisations, Barriero’s expertise is expected to drive strategic, transformative, and sustainable solutions at AXIS. (Terry Gangcuangco, 29/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'AXIS Capital bolsters leadership line-up')

​The London & International Insurance Brokers’ Association (LIIBA) has named a new Chair for the representative body. Andy Bragoli, the Global Head of Placement at Howden, has been named for the role. His leadership transition occurred during a LIIBA board meeting on February 22, with Bragoli succeeding Alastair Swift of WTW, who had held the position since March 2022. With a 27-year tenure at the global insurance group, Bragoli’s career also includes a directorship at Nelson, Hurst & Marsh from 1989 to 1997. (Kenneth Araullo, 28/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'LIIBA appoints new chair')

Richard Coello has been appointed as Chief Executive of K2 Group Holdings Limited (K2 International), the London Market underwriting arm of US-based K2 Insurance Services, effective March 1. Recognised for his expertise in growing underwriting businesses, Coello built K2 Financial and spearheaded its growth to a US$65 million premium firm over the past decade. Alongside David Carson, he has co-led K2 International since its acquisition by K2 Insurance Services in 2020, guiding the company through significant changes, including its recent swoop by Warburg Pincus. Coello’s credentials also include time spent forming the financial institutions division at Travelers Europe. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'K2 International names chief executive')

RSA Insurance has reshuffled its commercial lines leadership team, following its recent acquisition of NIG/FarmWeb. The revamped line-up will operate under the direction of Sonya Bryson, who is joining in May as Managing Director of Commercial Lines at RSA. Steve Scott will transition from his role at NIG as Director of Broker Markets to take on the mantle of Regional Director, with a focus on mid-market and regionally-traded business. Steve Hedge will continue his tenure as delegated Director, overseeing schemes and delegated authority business. Tovah Grosscurth, previously at the helm of personal lines strategy & performance, will serve as Commercial Lines Digital Director in charge of SME and eTrade business. David Enoch, meanwhile, was appointed as Distribution & Proposition Director, moving from his position at NIG where he managed strategic broker relationships, marketing, and propositions. Rob Flynn, formerly SME Director, will step into the role of Chief Transformation Director for Commercial Lines. (Terry Gangcuangco, 28/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'RSA reshuffles commercial lines leadership line-up')

​To bolster its executive team, Barents Re has announced a significant reshuffle pending final approval from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. As part of the shuffle, Gary Callaghan has been elevated to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Callaghan, an industry stalwart, was previously Head of Business Development and Retrocession at Barents Re for more than two years, leading up the practice for Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Since 2019, Callaghan has also held a board member, Managing Director position for Barents Re. Prior to his tenure with the Cayman reinsurer, he also held previous roles at Sompo Canopius, Willis Re, Aon Re, Benfield, and Alexander Howden Reinsurance Brokers (now Aon). In addition to Callaghan’s new position, Gerardo Garcia has taken on the role of Executive Chairman, which tasks him with leveraging his experience and knowledge to provide strategic guidance and direction. Garcia was previously the CEO for Barents Re, a role he held for two lengthy tenures: the first in 1996, and the second in 2015. Prior to this, he also held roles at Nacional de Seguros Colombia, Canal Bank, Fianzas Avanza, Arden & Price, and Ultimus Financial. (Kenneth Araullo, 27/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Barents Re announces major executive shift – new CEO')

​Markel Group Inc., the conglomerate behind insurance brand Markel, has broadened Executive Vice President Mike Heaton’s remit, appointing him as EVP and Chief Operating Officer. A highlight of Heaton’s stint as EVP was the transformation of Markel Corporation into Markel Group Inc., with him leading the change towards a more cohesive holding company structure. Heaton’s journey with the group – which is also in the business of bakery equipment, building supplies, and houseplants – includes heading Markel Ventures as president from 2016 to 2022, after initially serving as its COO. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Markel Group adds COO role to EVP's remit')

​QBE has promoted Kevin Shallow to Executive Director for international markets. Shallow, who has been serving as Marine Director in the UK since 2022, is stepping into his new role on March 4, subject to regulatory approval. Shallow’s career at QBE began in 2005, with credentials including time spent in Singapore where he developed the insurance group’s marine business in Asia. He was also instrumental in the creation and leadership of QBE’s portfolio solutions underwriting unit in the London market. (Terry Gangcuangco, 27/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'QBE taps internal hire to lead international markets')

CEO Adrian Lynch has announced the launch of the Blue Ocean Reinsurance Group, a new managing general agent (MGA) platform based in the Cayman Islands. It aims to offer comprehensive support services to both existing and new reinsurance companies entering the Cayman market, as well as to complex captive insurers. The organization is currently awaiting regulatory approval to operate its own insurance management services. In addition to Lynch, the executive suite will include Graham McKay and Ruwan Jayasakera, who will serve as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, respectively. Lynch, an industry stalwart, previously co-founded and served as a Non-Executive Chairman for Aran Reinsurance Company. He also held previous roles at Artex Risk, Aon, Vanderbrook & Co, and more. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'New reinsurance MGA launches')

Acrisure Re, the reinsurance arm of the global fintech Acrisure, has announced Jim Botsis as the new Head of its Chicago office, effective immediately. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Botsis transitions to Acrisure Re from BMS, where he served as Executive Vice President for 13 years. Recognized as a significant figure in the reinsurance sector, Botsis has provided consultancy services to several state insurance regulatory departments, advocating for industry interests. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Acrisure Re expands in North America with new Chicago head')

Topsail Re has announced the appointment of Christopher Miller as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, as well as President of Topsail Capital Partners. Miller, with a career spanning nearly a quarter-century in the re/insurance industry, is recognized for his ability to address complex risk and capital challenges for clients, according to a press release. Miller’s move to Topsail comes after his role developing and scaling the structured solutions business at McGill and Partners, a boutique intermediary based in London. (Kenneth Araullo, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Topsail Re adds new chief strategy officer')

​Lockton Executive Chair Ron Lockton, who served as Chief Executive from 2017 to 2020, is reprising his role as CEO. In a statement, a spokesperson for the global brokerage said: “Ron Lockton is returning to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Lockton, effective immediately. The Lockton board of directors, Mr Lockton, and former CEO Peter Clune have mutually agreed that now is the moment for Peter to step down as CEO.” The company, a family organisation, did not elaborate on the leadership change. (Terry Gangcuangco, 26/2/2024, Insurance Business UK, 'Lockton confirms change at the top')

Allianz Commercial has appointed Lynn Taylor to the position of Branch Manager, Birmingham. In her most recent role as Regional Trading Lead at Aviva, Lynn was responsible for the overall performance of the Midlands region. She oversaw trading activity, broker relationships and provided underwriting solutions. Graham Stait, Regional Manager (Midlands & South West), Allianz Commercial, said: “With over 30 years industry experience in trading with regional, national, and global brokers, Lynn brings with her an extensive knowledge of the Birmingham insurance market. She also has a proven track of building positive and long-standing relationships with brokers alongside a clear passion for developing high performance teams. I’m delighted to welcome her to the team.” (Allianz, 29/2/2024, youTalk Insurance, 'Allianz Commercial names Birmingham Branch Manager')

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from Insurance Business UK and youTalk Insurance.